Another post inspired by the late, great Jim Rohn. If you are not aware who he is, I would suggest you look him up. He was a speaker and coach who taught and inspired Tony Robbins, who, in turn, inspired yours truly. This is something I got out of listening to one of Mr. Rohn’s talks on how to master your life. In his example, it was television he spoke about. At the time of the talk, which was given in 1981 if memory serves, the average person was spending 6 hours of their day watching television. To me, this seemed a bit alarming. I cannot imagine sitting in front of the television for that long. After roughly 2 hours of watching a movie with Margie, I am ready to go to bed. That also has a great deal to do with Margie, but that is another post entirely.
Mr. Rohn would then ask people in the audience how expensive their television was. They would give various prices that made sense in the early 80’s. After listening patiently, he told them they were wrong. The television was far more expensive. The cost was the 6 hours of productivity they were losing by watching it. How much is 6 hours a day worth? What if you spent 6 hours a day working on pursuing your passion? Starting your own business? This got me thinking about how we have changed in the last 40 years? Surely we have learned from all of this lost productivity and the cost attached to it. Well…
Remember that 6 hours a day of television in 1981? Let us look at today’s equivalent of the television – the cell phone. According to a study done in 2022, globally, people average 6 hours and 58 minutes of screen time a day. Almost a full hour more than the television in 1981! That figure has increased an average of 50 minutes a day since 2013. At this rate, in another 5 years we will spend half of our day staring at the palm of our head. So much for the theory of evolution. In fact, in the so-called evolved countries, the problem is even worse. In 2022, the average person in the United States spent 7 hours and 4 minutes on their phone! I am as guilty of this as anyone. I often do research, and even write some of these blogs you are reading on my phone. (Fear not, this one was written on my laptop.) If you want some more amusing, but alarming, statistics on cell phone use, read the picture above.
My point here is not to demonize the cell phone. As I mentioned in the paragraph above, they do serve many useful purposes. You can use them for a GPS device to find your way around. You can find out what movie that was that had Will Smith and Kevin James in it and who the leading lady was. (So you don’t have to use your phone it was Hitch and Eva Mendes respectively) The point here is to think about what those 7 hours of your day staring at your hand are truly costing you. Those people who buy a new phone every year (Can’t imagine this myself) think they are spending on average $370 dollars a year ($555 in the U.S.) are underestimating that price significantly. We work 8 hours a day and demand a fair wage for doing so. Yet, we give away 7 hours of our day to a device that not only does not pay us, but cost us countless dollars in cell phone bills, the building of our dreams and memories we could be creating with our loved ones. I don’t know about you, but that is far too much to pay for a cell phone. It is time we make the cell phone cheaper. Not with our wallet, but with our habits.
This website revolves around improving yourself. Making better life choices. Following powerful and productive strategies that allow you to get more done in a shorter amount of time. A good deal of improving yourself can be to celebrate and love the victories you accomplish. Even the small ones. Do you know what works equally as well as improving yourself and celebrating your victories? Doing the same for others!
It can seem like second nature to be excited about what we worked hard to accomplish and want to share that with others. That is good and we should do that. However, when doing so, we should come from a place of both service and humility. This can be done by asking ourselves one simple question, “Why are we sharing this information?” It is great to want to share our victories and how far we have come with friends. If that is all we do, we can come across as someone who is self-absorbed. If you want to be well-received by those you come in contact with, forget trying to impress them. Instead, inspire them.
We can share our accomplishments with the intentions to let others know they can do the same. What can we offer to help others obtain and maintain a feeling of hope and motivation? How can we inspire them to do great things? That is the idea I would like us all to focus on this week. How do you feel when every time you meet a certain individual, you feel great about yourself and inspired to be even better? Would that be a person you would enjoy being around? Would that be someone you would want to spend more or less time around? How happy would you be to see them? It is my firm belief that the only thing better than being a great leader and example, is to help others be the same. I would love to hear ways in which you inspire others.
Here is one of the great things about self-improvement – you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Some of the greatest teachers and greatest teachings are new versions of very old ideas. They might have a slight new twist on them, but the main difference is the way they are presented. The same idea that was brought forth by a student of the seminary would be explained in a very different way from that of a young man who sang in a rock band and was a bartender and Postal worker for over two decades. That covers the transmitting end of things. The same can be said on the receiving end. That same idea will be heard differently by the young man in our example when he is in a band right out of high school verses when he is in his forties and has had more life experience. This is why to this very day I listen to and read self-improvement material every day. That, and I have a great passion for learning.
That brings us to today’s post. I was listening to a motivational video that I had heard a handful of times before. (Did I mention you can learn something new depending on where you are mentally at the time?) In it I heard one of those self-improvement clichés I have heard countless times before. I am not really sure this is a term, but this idea has been mentioned so often that I can think of no better way to describe it. Here is the funny thing about this idea and how I heard it this morning. When I began to ponder it I realized although I had understood this concept intellectually, I never really made use of it to the full extent, nor got it in my spirit. It seemed too simple, too obvious. Often we miss great opportunities because they seem too simple. I am letting you know that although I have know about this success tool for years I never put it to its full use because I dismissed it due to its simplicity. I tell you this in hopes that you will not do the same.
What is this powerful secret that can help us achieve our biggest goals? Before we reveal it, let me tell you two other benefits of using this method. First, it can reduce the stress that often comes with chasing goals. The feelings of failure or impatience will be few and less intense when they do show up. Second, you will also have more motivation to keep going. Here is the grand secret – The big things are made up of lots of little things. Not too mind-blowing huh? You may be tempted to think so, but I am here to tell you that you are wrong. It is the secret to achieving everything we thought we never could.
Do you have a goal you are working on? Do you want to write that book you have been talking about for years? Do you want to finally start that business of your own? Maybe it is something a little more personal like trying to mend a friendship or save a marriage? We often look at those things as a singular event when they are really countless little events. Writing a book takes discipline to write day after day for months and perhaps years. Trust me, I have written two of them. Starting your own business takes planning and many actions before you can call yourself a business owner. Picking a business, exploring locations and names. Developing a business plan and a million other things. How about the personal issues? Mending a friendship or saving a marriage? Let me ask you, did those fall apart overnight? Usually they did not. Even if you are just looking to strengthen a friendship or deepen a marriage, the answer is the same. It is a million different things. It is finding ways to genuinely compliment your spouse daily. It is learning what a friend is passionate about.
This can seem overwhelming at first, but once you dive in, the opposite is true. If I would have fully grasped the truth of this years ago, I would be so much farther in life. If I sat down and tried to write a book one night, I would either end up consuming vast quantities of rum, or having my brain explode. If, instead, I sit down and focus on writing the best chapter or idea that I am currently working on, I will not only be obviously be less stressed, but have a better quality end product. The same is true with my relationship. I always want Margie and I to be more loving and have a closer connection. This is not to say I feel we are unloving or not close, just that I am always looking to improve. I know that this is not going to happen in a single evening. What can happen in a single evening is taking one step to deepen our connection or strengthen our love.
I will give you two more quick examples to help drive this concept home. I recall a story told by the actor Will Smith. He told how his father had him and his brother build a wall one summer. Before they could get started, his father pulled him aside and told him some great advice. “Do not try to build the perfect wall.” he told young Will. “Instead, focus on laying the perfect brick. You do this over and over again and you will have the perfect wall.” It seems logical, but then why do so many of us find this so hard to do? The perfect example is working out. Especially around the first of the year we are all determined to get back in shape. If you are anything like me, you find yourself saying this on August 20th as well. We go in and try to run 460 miles or do a thousand pull ups, get sore and quit before seeing any results. That is why the gyms are full around January 1st, and seem almost empty a month later. What we should be focused on is getting the most out of each workout. Focusing on working the right muscles for the right amount of times. Enough to give us a good workout but still allow us to lift the pencil off the desk at work tomorrow, let alone be able to get out of bed to go to work. We focus on having the best workout we can each time we are at the gym and before we know it, we will look up and see how much better we are in shape. The same holds true for improving your diet, your parenting skills or anything else in life.
The lesson here is instead of being overwhelmed at the prospect of a large goal, become excited at doing each step to the best of your ability. When you do so, celebrate each win. You didn’t complete that book in one sitting, but you wrote one hell of a chapter. Maybe the chapter sucked, but you get that rough first draft out of the way so you can improve it tomorrow. You didn’t go from eating two pounds of bacon in one sitting to a runway model, but you did make it to the gym and walk on the treadmill. Maybe you didn’t make to the gym, but you walked around the block. You still ate way too much pizza, but instead of downing it with root beer, you drank water. Just keep at it and celebrate those wins. Do each step, each day to the best of your ability. Not only will that lead to accomplishing great things, but each day lived to the best of your ability will lead to an amazing life!
Those looking to raise their vibration and master the Law of Attraction, or LOA as it is often called, listen to and read many wonderful things. The movie The Secret was one that really caused me to adjust my thinking. I recall as a very young man reading the book The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. This not only allowed me to glimpse the power of my mind to accomplish things in my life, but gave me some practices to do them. Over the years I have listened to several wonderful recordings such as the life-changing The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale. I have discovered such great leaders of thought like Tony Robbins, Eric Thomas, and others. As someone looking to master anything, I pursued as many different avenues as I could.
It was the other morning while doing some recreational listening at my day job that another good example of these principles put into action and their success occurred to me. I am a fan of music, almost every kind of music. I advocate having a ‘happy playlist’ on your phone, mp3 player or whatever device you have handy. This is a list composed of songs that just make you feel good. Mine currently has 215 songs. They range in genre from classic jazz, 80’s hard rock, pop, country and the music I am going to discuss today – old school hip-hop.
Growing up, one of my favorite artists in this group included Ice-T. His name was taken from a crime novelist named Iceberg Slim. The song I happened to be listening to at the time was Rhyme Pays, off the album of the same title. Released in July of 1987, it was the first major release of his career. As you can imagine, for someone just getting going fame and fortune were still a ways off. You would never guess it by listening to this track. In it, the hip-hop artist tells about having multiple houses, maids, butlers, private jets and even so many gold chains he has to let the dog wear one. A lot of artists at this time did that. They rapped about the lifestyle they were chasing, in great detail. It is like people who use a vision board today. What happens when you have a song that you have written like this? What happens when you perform this track night after night, repeating these lines of fame and fortune? You end up not only achieving fame and fortune in the music industry, but film and television as well. Currently playing a detective on Law and Order SVU and having a net worth of $60 million, I would say he went on to complete his vision using many of the principles of the Law of Attraction. Whether he knew he was doing that or not is a different matter.
Another trick to succeeding with the Law of Attraction is to raise your vibration. This means improving your self-image to a point you really believe in yourself and the fact you can accomplish anything. If there was something you could always count on in an old-school hip-hop album, it was the individual telling you how great they were. Some of this bordered on arrogance and straight up narcissism. In a world where we are always being told we are too short, too fat and a million other things, a little bragging about yourself might be just what the doctor ordered. One of the great secrets is to believe in yourself so others can as well. You do not have to be a performer in the hip-hop industry to understand that.
One of the people who did this best and with the most class was Will Smith. Whether it was back when he was known as ‘The Fresh Prince’ or after he started going by his given name, the heightened self-image was there. It was done with humor, class and very little if any cursing. What has this African-American man, born in 1968 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania been able to to using humor and a positive self-image along with a love of people? Smith has went on to be nominated for five Golden Globes, two Academy Awards and has won 4 Grammy Awards. Impressive to be sure, but there is more. He has also married the woman he loves, had a family which he adores and has a net worth of an astonishing $350 million dollars. In April of 2007, Newsweek called him “The most powerful actor in Hollywood.” The actor has went on to record numerous motivational videos and help several charity concerns.
My point is that you never know what you can accomplish. There are so many great examples of using the principles of the Law of Attraction that we may not even consider. I am not advocating you run out to purchase a large gold chain and an over-sized boom box, but a little practice in speaking your fantasies, fostering a positive self-image and using humor and a love of people can propel you to heights you may have never dreamed possible. It wouldn’t hurt to listen to some old-school hip-hop as a reminder.
Last post we looked at casting actors to play in your own movie. This can go a long way to improving the quality of your life. You can increase your happiness and productivity, you can foster a greater sense of inner peace and you can have a lot more fun and success than you have ever had before. This sounds a little too good to be true? There is, I confess, one caveat.
Just like in the world of Hollywood, there is an executive producer. Call it God, the universe or whatever term you use. Sometimes they put people in our feature picture that we would rather do without. When this happens to me, I imagine the kind of movies I like to watch. Whether you enjoy Disney movies or are more a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey, in all of those movies there are challenges and villains the hero has to overcome. It is what gives the movie a sense of adventure. It is what makes your hero stronger and develop greater qualities. Can you imagine watching a movie in which the lead character wakes up, wins the lottery does anything they want, doesn’t age has perfect health and just repeats that over and over again? Does not sound like a very exciting movie to me. Do you think the star of that movie would grow stronger? I am guessing not so much.
In our own life we may have our friendly and fair boss replaced by one that is two-faced and emotionally unable to handle their position, lashing out and everyone the moment they become stressed. Hypothetically. In my own place of work we have a coworker who is quite less than pleasant. For the sake of argument we will call them “Michelle”. This person always comes in with a very negative attitude. The curse, they belittle and they generally bring a dark cloud with them on a daily basis. Is that someone you would cast in a movie you are staring in? I am guessing not. Every great character needs an antagonist. When I think of the negative, or as I like to call them sunshine-challenged, people in my life, I stop and ask myself, “How would the star of a movie handle these people?” This often allows me to handle them as the best version of myself or as the character I would wish to be in my movie. In the case of our previously mentioned coworker, I imagine my leading actor would not only use that to practice and improve their patience, but to remind them of the importance of staying positive. They would use that person’s negativity to remind them how valuable being positive to all of their costars is.
What about challenging situations? This is where thinking of your life as a movie and you as the director may really come in handy. In the picture above we see a director telling the camera person what to focus on. Can you imagine if we had someone to do the same for us? We do, it is ourselves. When a challenging situation pops up, we can decide what to focus on. Let us say we just lost our job. We can focus on all of the disadvantages we have. Perhaps we are too young and do not have the experience someone older would have. Perhaps we are older and lack the energy and long-term investment we think an employer would be looking for. Instead of focusing on what is against us, remembering we are the hero of our own movie and think to ourselves, “What would a hero choose to focus on?” Maybe it is that we have the health to go out and find a new job. Maybe it is the opportunity to begin again and find something that pleases us more?
What about those situations in life that just suck? A loved one passes away or a major health challenge occurs. When we are in the middle of the whirlwind of emotion these can be one of the most difficult situations to handle. Give yourself time to grieve and feel what you need to. Even the bravest heroes and biggest stars have moments like these. I am reminded of Will Smith’s character in The Pursuit of Happyness. At one point it seems everything is against him. He is unemployed and homeless. He is sleeping in a public restroom with his son and an angry man is trying to get inside to use the bathroom. I am hoping your life is nowhere near that bad. What happens in this movie? The character does not give up and ends up landing a great job and being able to take care of his son. (This movie was based on a true story. In other words someones life that was turned into a movie) In situations that you are under extreme stress it can be helpful to look at it as a director of a movie would and ask yourself, “Ok, if this happened in a movie I was directing, how would I have the star bounce back from their sadness, pain or depression?”
Looking at our life from this emotionally unattached position can offer us creative possibilities that we may otherwise miss.It can also help give us emotional strength we are otherwise unable to find. If the hero in our movie can do it, maybe we can too? Remember, you are the star in your movie. You are the director as well. Write yourself a great plot and do not let your hero be defeated by anything!
A quick disclaimer. This post has nothing to do with Donald Trump, a border wall or any political opinions. What is does have to do with is how to build a successful life without a mountain of stress. I think that is far more useful than the afore mentioned.
Most people do not know this about me, but I listen daily to other success and motivational videos. I am continually learning and growing myself. When I come across something particularly useful I come here to share it with all of you. In this case I was listening to a video by Will Smith. He told a story about his youth that I believe all of us can put into practice in our own lives. When he was young his father told him and his brother they were going to build a wall in front of his fathers store. When they began, his father gave both of them this incredible advice. Do not set out trying to build the best wall ever. Start out with trying to lay the perfect brick. Make sure that brick is placed as perfect as a brick can be. Do the same with the following brick. You repeat this over and over again. If you do this with every brick you will have built the perfect wall.
Some of you may not see the amazing power of this advice. In our lives we hopefully have some grand goals. Perhaps we want to start our own business? Maybe our goal is to finally get in shape and lose those unwanted pounds? Another popular goal is to get our finances in order. All of these are great goals and I commend anyone who has them on their list.
The problem many of us run into is the overwhelming nature of all of these problems. In other words we try to build the perfect wall. Changing our eating, going to the gym every day and meditation? Instead, do your best at the gym…today. Eat healthier than you did yesterday. Perhaps try to be more mindful than the day before.
Trying to get all of your financial affairs in order? Instead, pay $5 extra on your credit card bill. Make coffee at home once a week instead of going to the coffee shop.
Starting the perfect business can be difficult to say the least. Instead, search logo advice on YouTube. Maybe draw up a business plan. Order business cards.
In other words, focus on one brick at a time. Instead of attempting to solve the problem in its entirety, work on one aspect of the problem. This will not only prevent overwhelm, but give you many moments of accomplishment.